Former TRNC President, Mehmet Ali Talat has said that negotiations for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem could not begin with preconditions.
Speaking on TV, Talat also made reference to the fact the Turkish football team, Trabzonspor had made a direct flight to Larnaca. He said that such things were possible in aviation and that it was one of the oddities which were born of the Cyprus problem and would only disappear following a solution to the problem.
“Turkey which does not recognize South Cyprus is forced to cooperate with this country in many fields and mainly in sports and sometimes to exclude the Turkish Cypriots from these activities. This is what upsets the Turkish Cypriots”, he argued.
Moving on to the issue of hydrocarbon finds off South Cyprus shores, Talat reiterated his view that marketing Cyprus’ natural gas via Turkey made economic sense. He noted, though, that the political situation prevents this from happening and added that natural gas has not yet positively influenced the Cyprus problem.
Referring to the call to begin the Cyprus negotiations without preconditions, Talat argued that the negotiations could not start under conditions and added that issues such as territory, guarantees and security will be included in the negotiations.
Talat said that both sides would not gain equally from the solution of the territory issue and recalled that during his period as president, he had agreed with former President Christofias to leave the territory issue until the end of the negotiations. He said that territory will, of course, be discussed but “bringing the map onto the agenda now, would be an injustice to the Turkish Cypriots”.